Once upon a time, the only ways to receive funding for a project were to secure a grant or pound the pavement looking for sponsors. With the internet age in full swing, sourcing funds for your creative endeavors has become as easy as a click of the mouse. OK, there’s a bit more to it than that, but the advent of crowdfunding websites has completely changed the landscape of searching for funding. Read on for the complete 411 on Kickstarter, a top crowdfunding source specifically dedicated to making creative work a reality.
The folks at Kickstarter declares in bright, bold letters on their home page, “Our mission is to help bring creative projects to life.” It doesn’t get more straightforward than that. The New York Times nicknamed them “The People’s NEA” and according to reports, since its inception in 2008, Kickstarter has helped raise nearly $2 billion dollars to fund over 250,000 creative endeavors. With a track record like this, there is absolutely no reason you shouldn’t be plotting your debut Kickstarter campaign right now.
It is of course important to still pursue traditional routes for funding. There are many, many grants available to artists (watch this blog for future posts about this very topic) but crowdfunding offers an opportunity to circumvent the red tape of grant applications and also connects artists directly to their audience in a unique way, making them part of the process.
There are other advantages to crowdfunding when it comes to connecting with your audience. Each Kickstarter campaign is required to offer incentives to donors. This is an ideal opportunity to get your art out into the world. Perhaps for every donation received you offer a set of (inexpensive) postcards showcasing some of your best work, or another memento depending on your media. If you are an artist who uses performance as your medium, you might offer free admission to your performance or an invitation to any related receptions. In this way, you not only give back to those who open their hearts and their wallets to your art, you also create opportunities for personal exposure and networking.
Kickstarter campaigns are controlled entirely by you, the creator. This means that you don’t have to adhere to any strict guidelines that may be involved in the grant writing process, but it also means that you get out what you put in. While this is true with any bid for funding, with a Kickstarter campaign you are truly at the helm. From start to finish, this is a campaign you create. While this may seem overwhelming at first glance, it can actually be quite freeing. And not to worry, Kickstarter will be right by your side the whole way. They offer a handbook on the website for those just getting started.
Choosing crowdfunding over traditional funding also opens up avenues that may not be available otherwise. Perhaps your particular art form is simply not something that is likely to be funded by institutional grants. With crowdfunding, you remove any restrictions regarding media, subject matter, censorship, even demographics. The only limit to your creativity when it comes to a Kickstarter campaign is your own imagination.
While the internet has in a sense made the world a much smaller place, it can also be said that it has created social rifts. We belong to a culture that increasingly prefers virtual interaction over actual interaction. As an artist, often you are in a position to do something about this. By funding your work with a Kickstarter campaign you have a very real opportunity to turn the virtual into reality. By first connecting with people through the relative anonymity of the internet, you open up a line of communication that can then be carried into the real world through gallery openings or performances. You can literally bring people together over the common cause of your artwork. That in itself is a thing of great beauty in our increasingly isolated society.
There are a million reasons you should be using Kickstarter to fund your creative projects. We have given you just a few here. Keep an eye on this blog in the coming weeks and months as we bring you a multi-part series dedicated to the many aspects and benefits of running a Kickstarter campaign. Remember, the only time you will truly fail is when you don’t try. So take this as your invitation to try crowdfunding today.